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Thursday, December 11, 2008

MLB Winter Meetings: Who's Dealing?

The Major League Baseball offseason is well underway by now, and we're just getting into the climax of the winter meetings. A couple of teams have been steady making deals while others are sitting back and watching the action from their chairs.

For one, the New York Yankees are dealing for starting pitching after Mike Mussina's retirement earlier in the offseason. Chien Ming-Wang has been surrounded by injuries the past year of two, so the Steinbremmers must think it's time to go all out. The Yanks have already pretty much wrapped the C.C. Sabathia deal up and put a bow on it for Christmas. But, they have reportedly offered A.J. Burnett a contract as well.

New York's inter-division rivals, the Baltimore Orioles, have also shown that they are ready to step their game up after dealing veteran catcher Ramon Hernandez to the Cincinnati Reds for OF Ryan Freel and two prospects. This shows that Peter Angelos is ready for the younger guys to step up. Getting rid of the 32-year old catcher makes room for the young AA-er, Matt Wieters, who was this past seasons Minor League Player of the Year winner. The 22-year old catcher, a two-time All-American at Georgia Tech, has a great mixture of power and average on both sides of the plate while his big frame (6 foot 5, 230 pounds) makes him an easy target behind the plate.

Believe it or not, this isn't the only move Baltimore has made this offseason. The front office is close to completing a two-year, $6 million deal with former Blue Jay, Dodger, Cub, Pirate and Cardinal shortstop Cesar Izturis. The O's have had major issues at the shortstop position since the end of the Miguel Tejada era. Izturis does not have much power, or even all that much consistency in his eight seasons, but he does have a great glove. That is what they are looking for as of this point. Just someone who can hold the spot and get the job done. Izturis' career fielding percentage (.979) is better than Tejada's MLB career and, like most middle infielders, Izturis has speed.

I'm still not done with the O's. Angelos also finds himself in the middle of the Mark Teixeira talks. He may actually be in the lead, as of right now. They have reportedly offered Teixeira a seven-year, $150 million contract. The O's, as a matter of fact, are also said to be one of the four remaining teams going after Teixeira. The other three teams; Angels, Nationals, Red Sox.

Jake Peavy is not packing for Chicago after all. The Chicago Cubs and San Diego Padres have called off the deal that would have sent the NL Cy Young winner, Peavy, to Chicago. The multi-player deal was reportedly called-off by Chicago GM Jim Hendry.

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